Part 3: 1984
by Feind Gottes
Directed by Andrew J Kuehn
Narrated/hosted by Donald Pleasance
Decades Of Descent
Part 3: 1984
1984 - Horror Love Awakens
by Feind Gottes
Well horror fans grumpy Old Man Feind is back with Part 3 of this little series I’ve started and I have to admit I have been completely at a loss for what to do for this installment. You see Scribbler fans my initial intention when I thought of this segment was to do something far different than what I’ve done so far. My initial thought/intent was to highlight one film from my journey through the wonderful world of horror movies as I grew up taking you back further and further through my roots, so to speak. What I’ve ended up doing instead is ranting about some horror fans’ intolerance of remakes/reboots and big stars entering the horror fray which may give you all the wrong impression. In general, I’ve found the horror & metal communities to be highly tolerant and accepting of new things, more so than the general public at large. We defend what we love to our dying breaths perhaps even threatening bodily harm, at times, to those who may disagree. But that’s what passion does to you. So today rather than rant and prattle on about bullshit I wanted to share something that was very important to me for a time in my youth and I had unfortunately forgotten about until doing a little research on what to bring to this edition of my Decades of Descent.
In 1984 I was 11 years old (my birthday is in the frigid month of December so I didn’t turn 12 until the year was nearly over) and I was still exploring horror. 1984 was the year that I read my first Stephen King novel, still one of my all time favorites of his… The Stand! So my initial thought when 1984 came up was to highlight one of the favorites of my youth, Stephen King’s Children of the Corn which honestly is one of the better movies adapted from his work. I’ll never forget the line, no horror lover should, “He Wants You Too Malachi!” But as this segment evolved I realized that just wasn’t going to work any longer. I mean, it’s a great flick you should most definitely check out but I don’t want to just bring you a movie review as there are several of those I can do at any time. I wanted to share something that was more important to me, something maybe a little more interesting. After all, as much as Cult and I love sharing our thoughts on the myriad of horror flicks we consume with you, I wanted this to be something a little off the beaten track that may help you navigate the wonderfully warm waters of horror like I did. So in keeping with that, today I want to share with you a flick that introduced me to much horror and horrifying non-horror that I feverishly sought out thereafter. Today I bring you a documentary of sorts that sent me in pursuit of just about everything contained within it…
Terror In The Aisles (1984)
Directed by Andrew J Kuehn
Narrated/hosted by Donald Pleasance
Probably the first slasher flick I remember terrifying me in my youth was John Carpenter’s Halloween. I’ll never forget seeing that opening scene of young Michael Myers climbing the stairs, signature butcher knife in hand, to stab his naked sister over and over again. I was young and well… BOOBS! But it is also the first POV scene I ever remember seeing. It gets done to death at times now especially with all the damn “found footage” flicks that need to just fucking stop but at the time this was new and I was intrigued by it. With two older sisters I won’t lie and say I never had any thoughts of ridding myself of them in such a manner, I love ‘em now but back then they’re probably lucky I wasn’t prone to homicidal tendencies. Anyway the reason I mention Halloween is that not only is it awesome but it was also the first time I saw the wicked host of Terror In The Aisles, the delightful Donald Pleasance who played Michael Myer’s psychologist in the film. Of course, many scenes from Halloween (and its sequels) are used in this trip through horror films but it isn’t overdone and it’s well deserved.
So why highlight a documentary rather than some other aspect of the importance of horror in 1984? Well because TitA (for short) introduced me to a whole host of horror films that I went in pursuit of afterwards. My scribblin’ partner Cult tells me that 1984 was the year that the UK tried to crack down on one of his passions the “Video Nasty” era but since that is his area of expertise I figure I’ll let him share some of that with you when he so desires. Instead of ranting about some topic like that I thought today I’d share TitA with you as if you’re young or perhaps just getting into horror it can introduce you, as it did me, to a whole host of horror that you should pursue as much of as you possibly can. TitA highlights horror from it’s beginning to the present (of the time anyway) and from it’s forms both in true horror films to the realms outside of horror that are still terrifying in particular the Dustin Hoffman classic, The Marathon Man. How can you not love the line, “Is it safe?” Now that’s a horror line if I ever heard one especially as it comes while Hoffman’s character is being tortured for info.
This is one of the main reasons I wanted to highlight TitA today because it not only introduced me to many horror films I had yet to see at the time but also that there are many horrifying scenes found outside of the horror genre. I’ve used many of these as inspiration myself as I’ve begun my little writing journey. A scene of George Clooney being tortured in the excellent movie, Syriana, comes to mind. Whether it’s a horror movie or not, someone getting their fingernails pulled off is fucking terrifying because we all know how bad that shit would hurt! When I “borrow” things like this in my writing I twist and change them to my own sick ends but I’ve found much inspiration outside of actual “horror” that I use often. It was TitA that first showed me that this was perfectly acceptable.
There may still be one or two flicks shown in TitA that I have never seen mainly because some are a bit difficult to find but I think I can safely say I’ve seen 99% of them both the horror films and the non-horror like Marathon Man (which is an excellent film by the way). I remember the trips to the video store most Friday’s with my mother where she would let me pick something out for myself then go about picking some out for the rest of the famn damily. It was in these early years of my budding love of horror that I saw most of ‘84’s more notable flicks like the wonderfully underappreciated C.H.U.D. to the ever popular original Wes Craven’s Nightmare On Elm Street (the first one actually scared the fuck out of me though they quickly devolved into a mockery of themselves) to the aforementioned Children of the Corn to the cult classic Silent Night, Deadly Night and the wonderful piece of Troma awfulness, the classic Toxic Avenger. I devoured all I could get my hands on so that I could go back to school every Monday telling my friends what wretched sick filth I watched over the weekend as most weren’t allowed to watch such flicks by their over-protective parents. Thankfully my mother trusted me not to turn into an axe wielding serial killer fearing that somehow these films were warping my fragile little mind which like her I believe is a bunch of bullshit. I was mature enough so she let me watch, period. Thanks MOM!
So that’s what I have for you today Scribbler fans. The whole point I guess is to seek out and watch as much horror as you possibly can. Go out and find an appreciation for everything from the silent classic Nosferatu to the sickest, goriest over the top blood & guts masterpieces like Cannibal Holocaust. Watch it all from the underground stuff that’s difficult to get your hands on to the films put into wide release in theaters everywhere. There are plenty of terrible horror films and there always will be, as with every other genre, but you never know where you might find that outlying oddity that becomes your favorite that you find an undying need to share with every horror lover you come in contact with. As a teen I had a group of friends that would get together, usually after a grueling Saturday morning wrestling practice, and watch horror movies all afternoon and through the night when we were able. Everyone has a different style that they love. Cult loves his “Nasties”, I love gritty, realistic independents but we both have a love of all things horror. Some make your heart race, some make you nauseous and some require laughter and a good drinking game to accompany them but the point is we love it all for their respective reasons. I can’t make you love horror but if you don’t you’re not reading this anyway so what I can ask you, horror fan, is to keep an open mind and watch every scrap of wretched wonderful awesomeness that you can from the classic Universal Monsters to whatever bloody nastiness is boiling up from the underground. Stay calm and repeat the horror lover’s mantra… It’s Only A Movie, It’s Only A Movie…
Stay Tuned for something special next week as I journey back another ten years to 1974! It’s gonna be wicked I promise!
So what do you think Scribbler Fans? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Scribbler Movie Reviews
Feind loves watching movies of all kinds so if we watch it, we tell whether you should as well. I'll share mostly horror but I also enjoy everything from big Blockbusters to micro-budget Independent films.
Enjoy all we do here? Help us bring you even more with a small donation today.